Nancy Naigle’s Novels Now TV-Movies

My Friend Nancy Makes it to Film

By Jeff Salter

Of all the Guest Foxes and Guest Hounds I’ve hosted over these 7.5 years at 4F1H, one of my all-time favorites was Nancy Naigle, whom I first met about five years ago in Cincinnati at the Lori Foster’s Reader/Author Get-Together.

Just this past week I learned that two of Nancy’s novels are being made into movies for the Hallmark Channel and will be aired on Nov. 3 [Christmas Joy] and Nov. 20 [Hope at Christmas]. Naturally, I wanted to tackle a very busy Nancy long enough to get more information from her.

This particular week, I think she’s a bit under the weather, so be patient as she responds to your comments and questions.

Nancy Naigle

Bio blurb

USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle writes small-town love stories and women’s fiction. In 2018 two of her novels, Christmas Joy and Hope at Christmas, became Hallmark Original Movies.

Nancy devotes her time to writing, trail riding, and the occasional spa day with friends. A native of Virginia Beach, she now calls North Carolina home.

Nancy’s books are available through most online retailers in paperback, digital, and audio formats. Download a free series checklist from her website.


  1. How (and when) did you learn your novels had been selected for conversion to screenplays and productions on the Hallmark Channel? What was your reaction?

[** NANCY **] — Christmas Joy was optioned by Crown Media in March of 2017. I’ve always been a huge Hallmark fan so the day I got the call from my agent with the news is one I’ll never forget, but I also knew that the odds of a film being optioned going to production was slim so I tried to keep my wits about me. That fall Hope at Christmas was optioned, too. It was a wonderful sense of validation that I was hitting the mark with the themes and types of books I’d wanted to write. I’d set out to write books that were wholesome stories set in inviting small towns that were so heartwarming that friends would want to share them with others. I honestly just wanted to write simple stories that would give frazzled hard-working gals a break from the anxiety of work, family and financials. I feel like Hallmark embodies all of that with their programming. A nod from Hallmark was like being at the top of Santa’s nice list. Fast forward to the spring of 2018 when Christmas Joy moved to production—I was almost afraid to say anything for fear that I might wake up and realize I’d dreamed the whole thing.

  1. I’ll bet every author has day-dreamed about which actors and actresses might be good in the roles of their heroes and heroines. But you’ve actually gotten to SEE the individuals bringing your characters to life. How did they measure up to your expectations or wishes?

[** NANCY **] — If you opened the Scrivener files of Christmas Joy you’d see that the pictures of the actors I’d envisioned for Christmas Joy were Candace Cameron Bure (a picture of her with a pretty side-braid) and Ben Zorn from The Bachelorette season with Kaitlyn. It’s always easier for me to keep the character consistency right when I have a real person in mind while writing. I love the matchup of Matt Long who plays the role of Ben, and Danielle Panabaker (the Flash) as Joy. They have an awesome natural banter that is as fun as I’d envisioned it. I love, too, that we’re seeing some fresh faces in these movies. I personally never tire of my favorite Hallmark actors, but I know there’s plenty of grumbling out there about it. For Hope at Christmas I had the picture of the stars from A Country Wedding, Jesse Metcalfe and Autumn Reeser, on my wall. Ryan Paevey from General Hospital was cast as Mac. Of course, most Hallmarkies will recognize him as Mr. Darcy. The beautiful Scottie Thompson plays the role of Sydney. She’s movie star stunning, but somehow pulled off that girl-next-door mom role perfectly. Hallmark knows how to pull the right talent together.

  1. Were you allowed to see and/or provide feedback on the screenplay? Or was that – as I suspect – completely out of your hands?

[** NANCY **] — The screenplay was completely out of my hands, and that was fine with me. Writing a screenplay is a totally different skillset. I love Hallmark, and I wasn’t the least bit worried about how the movies would turn out.

  1. Something I often read in interviews (with authors who’ve had a movie based on their novel) is that the film result is so different from their story. How closely did your two turn out?

[** NANCY **] — First of all, a script for a Hallmark movie has about 20,000 words. These novels are about 90,000 words long. There’s no way all the plot threads were going to end up in the movie. I suspect that’s why most people think the books are better than the movie, simply because there’s more story. In short, yes the stories resemble the tag line for the books, but the tag line is very high level.

  1. Were there any particular scenes (or characters) from your novels that – because of the time element of the broadcast slot – had to be omitted or glossed over? Does the movie story flow reasonably well without that material?

[** NANCY **] — Totally! For example, Christmas Joy followed the storyline, but without Molly. I had fun writing the little girl Molly in that novel, and the Christmas cookie scene where she, Joy and Ben share the moment about “snowflake kisses” from the flour is one of my very favorite scenes in the book. Neither Molly nor that scene made it into the movie, but the movie still captures the essence of the story without her. The day I walked onto set they were shooting the scene where Ben accidentally breaks the special Christmas ornament. That scene was so perfectly shot that I sat there and cried. I think readers are going to be very satisfied with what Hallmark has done in keeping with the setting and transformations of Joy and Ben in Christmas Joy. Hope at Christmas had a lot of character changes. The mayor is married in the book, not in the movie. Miss Bea is healthy and ready for adventure in the movie. In the book Sydney and Mac meet by accident…literally…when she backs her car into his truck. In the movie they knew each other as kids. Mac is still a high school teacher but he’s not a dad in the movie, and rather than having been the “secret” town Santa since the year his son was born, he kind of gets duped into having to be Santa in the movie. Sydney’s friend from her childhood in Hopewell, Diane, is now Mac’s sister. Now…all that character shuffling aside, the main story still holds even though readers will most definitely notice the differences, but still love all the elements that made this a heartwarming story to begin with.

  1. I’ve heard that lots of the TV-movies are filmed in Canada. Were you actually able to visit the set at any point? If so, what was that like?

[** NANCY **] — Both of these movies were filmed in Vancouver. I visited the set of Christmas Joy in May. It was very emotional for me. I think I spent most of the time crying as I watched Danielle Panabaker and Matt Long bring scenes that had only been in my head to life right in front of me. The mood, actions, even the cadence of their words were so right that I couldn’t keep myself composed. Everyone on set was so welcoming. It’s amazing to watch so many people working to make each tiny scene come to life. It was pretty cool to be there on a perfect spring day with temperatures hovering in the mid-seventies with fake snow being blown all around me. Magical, that’s what it was like. I just got back this weekend from a week on the set of Hope at Christmas. I knew what to expect this time so I wasn’t so teary-eyed, but my cheeks still hurt from the constant smiling. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. The sets were so well done, and the actors did a great job. Everyone did. There were a lot of background actors on the set of Hope at Christmas too since there were so many group scenes which made for a lot of moving parts. I learned so much by quietly observing as they brought the story alive.

  1. If we happen to miss the Nov. 3 and Nov. 20 debuts, will we have other chances to see these on the Hallmark Channel?

[** NANCY **] — Oh yes, you can count on it. Christmas Joy will air several times on Hallmark Channel during Countdown to Christmas. Hope at Christmas will be on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries as part of the Miracles of Christmas programming.

  1. Any more of your novels set to be filmed? How much can you tell us at this point?

[** NANCY **] — I don’t have any news to share right now, but I will definitely keep you posted. This has been one awesome year for me. I still don’t think it will all really sink in until I watch the movies with y’all this fall.

Christmas Joy


Buy link –


Hope at Christmas

Hope at Christmas Hallmark Burst 2018

Buy Link –
And my new release coming Oct. 18 is Dear Santa. A retelling of You’ve Got Mail set on the coast of North Carolina as two Christmas shop rivals find their way to an unexpected Happily-Ever-After.

Dear Santa Cover 020418
You’ll want to go back and investigate Nancy’s previous appearance on my Hound Day blog:

[JLS # 402]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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33 Responses to Nancy Naigle’s Novels Now TV-Movies

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Welcome to the blog, Nancy! Congratulations on getting your stories in front of such a wide audience through television. I’ll be watching for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I don’t watch much TV — except when I’m exercising at the local facility — but I’m definitely gonna carve out time to see these. My wife is always on either the Hallmark channel or HGTV.


      • nancynaigle says:

        Good morning, Patricia! Thank you so much. It’s been so exciting. I can’t wait to see the movies on the screen and see how the bits and pieces I watched being filmed look all strung together. I’m crazy about all Hallmark movies so I know I’ll love them!

        And Jeff…I knew I liked your wife!! Those are the two channels always on here at my house too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jeff Salter says:

          if we could find a cable system that allowed us to pay for only the channels we watched, we’d have Hallmark, HGTV, PBS (KET), weather channel, history channel. But we have to pay for about 100 channels, instead… just to get those five that we watch.


  2. kathleenbee says:

    What a lovely writer story and awesome achievement! You must be so proud. I can’t wait to watch your movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jbrayweber says:

    What an amazing accomplishment. I imagine being on the set was an experience like no other. I’m so thrilled for you, Nancy! I’ll be watching out for your movies. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Yeah, Jenn — being on the set would be the epitome of cool. Except I’d hope I wouldn’t do all that crying… at least not in front of the actors and crew. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    • nancynaigle says:

      You’re so right. I had no idea all the moving parts and people…so many people…were involved in bringing an hour or so of TV to us. The attention to detail is intense, even watching for things in the reflections of windows. Who knew? The entire crew works a grueling schedule too, but even at the end of a twelve-hour day everyone is cordial and proud of what they’ve accomplished. It was really neat to be a part of their world for a little while.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. nancynaigle says:

    Oh, Jeff…you would totally be crying too. hahahha . Okay, not you, but seriously it is so emotional to see what previously only played in my mind come to life. Especially when they nail it. It’s like they were in my brain! lol Sometimes it’s nice to just be a girly-girl. Tears are forgiven. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Actually, I have had the experience of seeing one of my poems brought to life by a handful of high school students in a play production. Don’t recall all the particulars, but one of the students took a poem (of mine) and dramatized it… and I think they added some Super-8mm film. It was shown to a small gathering of students and adults in one of the HS campus buildings. This was around 1970 as I recall.
      But, of course, that’s a far cry from Hallmark production co. in Vancouver.


  5. Kim Marcum says:

    I am very excited to read the books and watch the movies. My daughter (Mollie) watches them with me and she will love that Molly is one of your characters. As Jeff can tell you, once I read a book I love I then have to get everything that author puts out. I know I’ll love yours and keep getting your books. PS hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Welcome, Nancy! Although we do not know each other,I was thrilled for you when Jeff first broke the news!
    Most people have no idea that mere mortals, (unlike J.K. Rowling), have absolutely no say in what becomes of their work once you accept an ‘option’, let alone any casting influence. It is also extremely rare for an author to be hired to help with the script. People always ask these questions.
    It must be thrilling to have your work made into a movie, but it also must be stressful to worry about how your work will be used. I am very happy that Hallmark has done a good job and that you are happy.
    Best of luck in the future with all of your work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I knew — but had not met — at least one other author whose novel had been made into a TV-movie. I can’t (this moment) think who it was. But I didn’t have the same excitement about that occasion as I do about these two with Nancy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • nancynaigle says:

      Thanks, Tonette! Hallmark is true to its brand in every way. I think I may have been nervous had this been in anyone else’s hands…but with Hallmark I was not worried at all. I’ve never met a Hallmark movie I didn’t like.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. nancynaigle says:

    Jeff mentioned that you might want to know where I got the idea for one of the books that became a movie. CHRISTMAS JOY came following a long and rewarding career as a Senior Vice President with Bank of America, but that lucrative career came at a cost. I worked a lot of hours and since I was in IT most of my 18 years with the company I was on call too, so I missed birthdays, anniversaries and family moments I wish now I hadn’t. Especially after losing my husband before I ever retired. That’s just not something you expect. I guess we all think we have plenty of time to make up for things missed. Joy is up for a promotion and her grueling schedule has kept her from the most important person in her family, Aunt Ruby. When Aunt Ruby takes a fall…Joy makes the right decision and goes to help her aunt. She’s rewarded in so many ways for making that decision too. So, my little hope is that someone will read that book, or now watch that movie and make a similar decision when faced with competing priorities.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Welcome Nancy, congratulations on two of your books being made into Hallmark movies! That is so exciting. I absolutely love Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas. The movies are a welcome break from the chaos and stress of the world. I am certainly looking forward to watching both of these but first I think I will read the books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      my wife watches all of these. I’ve seen bits and pieces. But these two of Nancy’s will be the first ones that I plan to watch from beginning to end. Who knows… maybe I’ll get hooked.


    • nancynaigle says:

      I think you’ll love them both, but the books have a lot more plot to them, and even some additional characters. One I am sorry that didn’t make it to Christmas Joy is the little girl, Molly. She was such a great treasure and addition to the story and the romance too. The movie works fine without her too though…just new pieces that will make it a fun read versus viewing.

      Thanks for joining me. I’ll be commenting on my FB author page and tweeting during the premieres.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. JC Jacobson says:

    Congratulations Nancy! I will definitely be viewing these since my wife and I watch Hallmark movies every night in December (funny thing is, I’m the one that got HER watching them!)

    Thanks for another great post Jeff!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Elaine Cantrell says:

    That’s a wonderful accomplishment, Nancy. I’ll be sure to watch both movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: In For a Penny | Four Foxes, One Hound

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